Andrew Johnson: A Biography

By Hans L. Trefousse | Go to book overview

XIII
PUGNACIOUS
PRESIDENT

PERHAPS the most crucial period in the administration of Andrew Johnson was the time span between December 1865 and July of the following year. It was during that interval of seven short months that Johnson broke with Congress and charted the stubborn course he was to follow ever after. His motives for the break—his reasons for not going along at least halfway with the Union party—are therefore a problem of great importance, and no biographer of the seventeenth president can avoid coming to grips with it.

At first sight, Johnson's policy with respect to Congress during the winter and spring of 1865 and 1866 seems well-nigh inexplicable. After all, the radicals, whose ideas were furthest removed from his, constituted merely a minority of the Republican party. The largest Republican contingent by far consisted of moderates, men like Lyman Trumbull, the able chairman of the Senate's Judiciary Committee, William Pitt Fessenden, the equally talented head of the Finance Committee, the president's Iowa friend James W. Grimes, and John Sherman, the senator from Ohio and the general's brother. These men and their counterparts in the House had almost as little liking for the small minority of radicals like Sumner, Stevens, and Wade as Johnson; they were anxious to cooperate with the administration, and cooperation with them would have given the president control of the Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Congresses. 1 Yet he refused to collaborate with them, so that in the end, much to his discomfort, they often made common cause with the radi

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Andrew Johnson: A Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Andrew Johnson - A Biography *
  • Contents 9
  • Illustrations 11
  • Preface 13
  • I - Raleigh Poor White 17
  • II - Tennessee Tailor 25
  • III - Greeneville Politician 35
  • IV - Fledgling Congressman 51
  • V - Veteran Congressman 69
  • VI - Governor of Tennessee 84
  • VII - United States Senator 109
  • VIII - Unconditional Unionist 128
  • IX - Military Governor 152
  • X - Vice President 176
  • XI - Unionist President 193
  • XII - Presidential Reconstructionist 214
  • XIII - Pugnacious President 234
  • XIV - Beleaguered President 255
  • XV - Defiant President 272
  • XVI - Fighting President 293
  • XVII - President Impeached— President Acquitted 311
  • XVIII - President in Limbo 335
  • XIX - Ex-President 353
  • XX - Epilogue 375
  • Abbreviations 381
  • Notes 383
  • Index 447
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